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Pad printing silver inks- example of 5G antenna applications



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This is your Thibaut. It's a pleasure for me to talk about the new range of product that we have developed by printing silver ink. So Henkel is well known for the sale of conductive inks, especially for screen printing.


But we have a nice project in China where one of our customers ask for printable inks for antennas, and basically we develop those inks, especially to meet the customer demand, but also because it really answers to product requirements, especially it combines two trends. The main trend that we see is the trend of connectivity. We have all heard for many years about Internet of Things, you know, is the 5G. We are even talking about the Internet of everything in that the objects we have to communicate together. We have also to communicate to people, but also to cloud in order to process the data, in order to enable seamless communications between everyone and everything you need high quality antennas and they. Other trend that we will see also is the one of 3D electronics, because we want to have smaller and smaller objects with even higher integral functionality also always customized.


So basically you want to turn some maybe thermoplastic enclosure into smarter ones. And the best way to to make it is maybe to incoperate components on plastic surfaces or to bring or so connectivity. So we have developed by printing for those who are not familiar with pad printing.


Here is a small animation tool to explain. Basically, you will have a silicone band that is going to take up an ink from a metallic plate. So you need to have the ink that has good adhesion and free transfer to the silicone pad. And then the pad is going to stamp the ink onto the 3D curves of face. And because it's fully conformable, you have a nice surface coating. If you want to increase, for example, the thickness, you can make multiple stamping.


It's a nice alternative to two worlds. And especially this is it has been used for smartphone applications. So for these smartphone applications, we have developed two things. The first one is printed on the outer side of the smartphone frame in polycarbonate is called Loctite Acid. 1203 That is very good conductivity t below ten milliohms per square at 25 micron thickness and brings the antenna functionality.


We also have developed another contact link that is printed on the inner side of the of the plastic frame with very good abrasion resistance. It is Loctite 1204 in order to have the contact with the main board, a main board of the smartphone, and in order, of course, to contact the outside of the antenna and the inner side contact pad we also have developed a ink not not for printing, but for dispensing to fill small holes in the plastic frame. So basically the combination of our inks and the printing technology brings many benefits to the customer applications. The inks offers a high performance, so very good conductivity, but also the low temperature curing that you need to avoid. The challenge of the smartphone frame can be cured to also have a very good reliability. And same because we are going to use inks and an additive technology, a printing one. You're going to, of course, to reduce the waste, for example, of copper plating that you will have from the LEDs process. But similarly, the inks are very good reliability, performance towards abrasion, humidity, damp heat and everything. But printing is also a well-known technique used for decades. For graphic printing, it can be easily scaled up. You just have to multiply the number of machines and also highly versatile because we have to change the cliché plate, the metallic plate, as you've seen two slides before to change the design. So also highly easy to customize. So this project has only been possible because we have the work of Chinese team at work in close collaboration with the customer, but also with part printing machine manufacturers to learn also on our side about printing.


It's a nice solution as an alternative to like the direct structuring, LDS or also other types of antenna. But we are not we do not only have but printing inks for the 3D electronics or printing, and we also have a product portfolio. So if you want to learn more about it, you can either contact me directly, you have my email address, or we also have our virtual booth in room four and we will be happy to meet you there.

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